Arts and Entertainment

X-Files star Gillian Anderson is returning to the London stage to play Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Man in the Dark, by Paul Auster

Reflections from a hall of mirrors where the present changes shape

Preview: Small craft warnings, Arcola Theatre, London

A motley crew drowning in their sorrows

Savage Grace, 15

The lurid true-life tale of the Baekeland family, inheritors of the Bakelite fortune, charts the troubles that wealth and boredom can bring in their wake. Not one for those who like a happy ending

Gore Vidal: Feuds, 'vicious' mother and rumours of a secret love child

He slept with Kerouac, hung out with Jackie O and feuded with Mailer. He's the last surviving giant of American literature's golden age. So why is Gore Vidal still so sensitive about his reputation?

Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells, London

Phoenix's new programme makes for a literary evening. It can be a strain: versions of Othello and The Glass Menagerie are stylised, sometimes stylish, often confusing. It's not until the final piece, Paseillo, that dance and characterisation are satisfyingly blended.

Phoenix Dance Theatre, Sadler's Wells London

Sinuous movements to Tennessee Williams reading his own script make for a compelling merger

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan; When a twee pop beauty met a rock'n'roll beast

Belle and Sebastian's Isobel Campbell is on to her second album with rocker Mark Lanegan. She tells Tim Cooper about an odd coupling

The Glass Menagerie, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Brenda Blethyn is billed as the star of Tennessee Williams's haunting "memory play", The Glass Menagerie. Yet, despite the aching combination of brittle brightness and sense of missed opportunity that she brings to the part of the aging Southern belle Amanda Wingfield, Braham Murray's luminous production is in fact very much an ensemble piece. The intimate in-the-round space adds its own dynamics to the tense interaction between Williams's four characters, Simon Higlett's ingenious set drawing the audience in to the stifling claustrophobia of life in the Wingfields' shabby basement.

Tennessee Williams' version of Chekhov's 'The Seagull'is being performed in Britain for the first time

On 15 February the flamboyant, ageing actress Irina Arkadina will sweep across the stage of the Exeter Northcott Theatre, seducing and bullying her son, Constantin, and her lover, Trigorin. But the actors (Mary Tamm, Philip Cumbus, and James Wallace, respectively) will not be performing in another version of The Seagull. They are appearing in the UK premiere of a play that Tennessee Williams wrote at the end of his life, The Notebook of Trigorin.

Caesar in a bun

Serves 4

Paul Bowles: A Life, by Virginia Spencer-Carr

He ushered in the end of civilisation

Edward Bunker

Bank robber turned crime writer and actor

The Heart of America - Your three- part guide to the most exciting destinations in the US

Even if you were brought up in Herts, I bet you have a pretty good working knowledge of the heart of America. In your mind you may have ridden a streetcar named Desire through New Orleans with Tennessee Williams, boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh with Paul Simon, driven down Route 66 with Chuck Berry - and in reality you may have seen more episodes of Dallas and ER than you care to admit.

A Streetcar Named Desire, Lyttelton, National Theatre, London

Blanche is too tough and Kowalski too sensitive in this miscast 'Streetcar'

Friday book: The influential role performed by pink plays

Out on Stage: lesbian and gay theatre in the twentieth century
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In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible